The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney

Written by: Alice B. McGinty

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Haidle

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Space, Women in Science, Family, Historic Events, Historical Figures, Astronomy. 


Venetia is a young girl who lives in Britain with her mother and grandfather.  She is fascinated by space and the planets, memorizing facts about them and asking all sorts of questions.  Venetia is also interested in mythology, so when there is a newspaper article about a new planet being discovered, she beings to imagine what it might be called.  Venetia thinks is should be called Pluto, after Neptune’s brother.  Her grandfather agrees to write a note suggesting the name to an astronomer friend of his.  Venetia waits for a long while, until they get good news!  The observatory that found Planet X love the name Pluto and will name is such.

This is such a cute story!  We had no idea that a young space enthusiast named Pluto, and she’s in fact the only child to ever name a planet.  In the back of the story is an Author’s Note about Venetia, including a photo of her as a child.  This is a great book (because who doesn’t love space?) that tells a story of how STEM truly is for everyone, and young people can contribute valuably at any age.  A great idea knows no boundaries!

About the Author & the Illustrator:


Alice B. McGinty is the author of this book!  Here is some information from her website: “First of all, I am a Writer. Ever since I was small, I’ve played with words and made up poems, jump rope rhymes, and stories. When I got older, I wrote those words down. Then, when I was in my 20s, I began to send what I wrote to publishers. After many years of rejections, I got my first acceptance – a short poem in a magazine. Later, that was followed with a story in Jack and Jill Magazine, and then books, both fiction and nonfiction. Now, I’ve written almost 50 books and after all these years, I still love to play with words.”


Elizabeth Haidle is a freelance illustrator living in Portland Oregon. She was raised in the outskirts of the city and recently moved back after attending college in various cities, living in Seattle, Philadelphia, and Taos—earning an MA in Illustration along the way, at Savannah College of Art and Design. After working as a freelance artist and art educator for many years, she has turned her attention to books. In 2017, she illustrated her first graphic novel, I, Parrot, written by Deb Olin Unferth. She has three more books out in Spring of 2019: Before They Were Authors….Famous Writers as Kids, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Girl Who Named Pluto, written by Alice B. McGinty, Schwartz and Wade, and The Pipers in the Woods, adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, Mascot Press.

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